Just hours after landing back on familiar ground Tuesday night, John Davidson was walking on a Manhattan sidewalk with his wife, Diana, who turned and said, “Doesn’t it feel like we never left?”
“Yes,” he said. “You’re absolutely right.”
Cherishing the moment, Davidson — or J.D. — was back at Madison Square Garden today, officially introduced as the new president of the Rangers. Once a star goaltender who helped lead the club to the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals and later an adored TV commentator, he returns with a vow of patience mixed with steely resolve.
“There’s no real secret to it, there’s no magic bullet,” he said. “There’s no blender where you can pull out a real good hockey team. You have to build it, you have to work it.”
Thinking Everything Through
A foundation and organization culture developed by outgoing president Glen Sather, general manager Jeff Gorton and coach David Quinn, he said, gives him a head start. And after building winners in St. Louis and Columbus, Davidson is now one of the NHL’s most respected executives — an accomplishment that doesn’t surprise his old teammates, including two former captains, Ron Greschner and Dave Maloney.
“When a team is going through a building process like the Rangers,” said Greschner, “you need stability. John will not make any decisions just to make them. He thinks everything out before he acts.”
To Maloney, Davidson was a mentor who offered quiet counsel in the glory years of the late 1970s.
“Here I was, the captain, all wound up, and he would say to me, ‘how about trying it this way?’ He’s a big presence and just a solid human being. If anyone gets what the Rangers mean to New York, it’s him.”
"In Your Blood"
Back in the day, Davidson wore 00 on his uniform and a look straight out of the '70s. Having grown up in western Canada, coming to New York was a challenge. "But once you figure it out," he said, "it gets in your blood and it's there forever." (Photo: Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
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The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is a world leader in live sports and entertainment experiences. The company presents or hosts a broad array of premier events in its diverse collection of iconic venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, CA; and The Chicago Theatre. Other MSG properties include legendary sports franchises: the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL); two development league teams – the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams through Counter Logic Gaming, a leading North American esports organization, and Knicks Gaming, MSG’s NBA 2K League franchise. In addition, the Company features the popular original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces New England’s preeminent Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG umbrella is TAO Group, a world-class hospitality group with globally-recognized entertainment dining and nightlife brands: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, Beauty & Essex and Vandal. More information is available at www.themadisonsquaregardencompany.com